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Dried mango superpow(d)er

Dried mango (amchoor) powder is a sneaky all-star ingredient.

It adds a tangy-ness to food without being sour. Instead of lemon or lime’s brightness, it adds depth. And unlike sumac, it changes almost nothing about the food visually since it’s such a fine powder.

Obviously it’s super in curries, but I’ve also added it to non-West Asian food like chili and smoothies with great effect. I imagine it would also work well in marinades, salad dressing, all sorts of things.

Another sleeper ingredient (at least to my palate!) is black salt. It’s got a pink tinge, confusingly. It has a distinct sulfurous smell which makes it super useful in vegan egg salad recipes, but I imagine it would be great in other stuff as well.

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How to keep herbs 🌿 in the fridge for more than a few days

When you get home, unbundle your herbs, wash immediately, and shake off excess water.

If you’re storing cilantro/coriander: Cut the bottoms so you have a fresh edge on all stems. Fill a glass with an inch or two of water. The glass should be large enough to hold the stems comfortably, don’t pack it in. Place the stems in the glass, and then place a plastic bag over the top to create a little “dome” over the leaves. I tend to use a quart bag, but you might need a bigger one depending on how long the stems are. Be sure to replace the water every once in a while.

For pretty much any other herb as far as I can tell: Lightly wrap the herbs in a slightly damp paper towel, then place in a large, open ziptop bag. Every once in a while, replace the damp paper towel or redampen it if it feels dry.


Finally figured out how to keep cut herbs fresh in the fridge for more than a few days. No more green slime. 👍

Cilantro, parsley, thyme, sage, and rosemary have all done well in my fridge with this technique. The cilantro has lasted weeks, which is shocking.

Mint did really well too, but I feel it might last slightly longer if treated like cilantro. Will experiment.

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Lullabies

A bunch of the songs I’ve been singing or would like to sing to B. From friends, family, Musarc, etc. Some are lullabies, many are not, but they all have a lullaby feel to me.

Links are to YouTube.

  • “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz, here sung by Judy Garland
  • “Baby Mine” from Dumbo, here sung by Betty Noyes
  • “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, here sung by Audrey Hepburn
  • “Candle on the Water” from Pete’s Dragon, here sung by Helen Reddy
  • “Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins, here sung by Julie Andrews
  • “Stay Awake” from Mary Poppins, here sung by Julie Andrews
  • “Smile” by Charlie Chaplin, John Turner, and Geoffrey Parsons, here sung by Nat King Cole
  • “Yesterday” by The Beatles, here
  • “Danny Boy” or “The Derry Air”, here sung by Sinéad O’Connor
  • “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music, here sung by Bill Lee
  • Wiegenlied, Op. 49, No. 4 by Johannes Brahms, much better known as Brahms’ Lullaby or “Guten Abend, gute Nacht”, here sung in Hebrew, English, and German by Esther Ofarim
  • “Es wird scho glei dumpa”, here sung by the Tölzer Boys Choir
  • “Schlaf, Kindlein, Schlaf”, here sung by the Wernigerode Youth Choir
  • “Vent Frais, Vent Du Matin”, here sung by Veronique Chalot
  • “Ik ga slapen ik ben moe”, here sung by Jelske Ottema (I think?)

Would love to collect more.

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To listen: Pamela Z

Need to listen to A Secret Code by Pamela Z from Neuma Records.

Came across her via the article “Social Codebreaker” by Emily Pothast in the July issue of The Wire, shown to me by Sam. See also her 1988 self-issued cassette Echolocation, due to be reissued later this year on Freedom to Spend.

From the article:

I ask her about the obvious current of humour running through many of her works. “A lot of people ask me about that. I think it’s because they expect experimental and contemporary music to be this very serious thing.” […an extended description of John Cage’s 1960 performance of Water Walk on CBS comedy game show I’ve Got A Secret and the audience’s laughter…]

“When people ask me that question, they often phrase it like, ‘Why do you inject humour into your work?’ and I don’t think of it as injecting humour,” she continues. “I think of it as allowing humour. Because I think that life is weird, and my work is very much influenced by and inspired by the world around me.

What happened to the formerly flourishing experimental music scene in San Francisco? I’ve looked for it. Some of the musicians may still be present, but the gigs aren’t, unless I’m missing something.

Might be worth keeping an eye out for Volti performances, Pamela Z has collaborated with them in the past.

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First walk

Thistle with a bee in McNee Ranch

Dried out tree stump in McNee Ranch

McNee Ranch in the summer

We took B on his first walk on August 20th, in the hills above Montara beach. It was his first time in the carrier, we thought he’d resist but he loved it. The hills are a lot drier than the last time we walked through here, but there were thistles and nasturtiums out. We saw a coyote on our way back down.

We took him to see the sea too. Thought about dipping his toes in the water, but the beach was too steep and the waves too high. Another time.

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Gemma’s site in AIGA Eye On Design

Read “There’s More Than One Way to Share Your Design Work: Four fresh takes on the portfolio” on AIGA Eye On Design.

They spoke to Carly Ayres, Prem Krishnamurthy, David Reinfurt, and Gemma Copeland about their approaches to an online portfolio / website. Gemma spoke a bit about how we designed and built her site together, it was a lot of fun. See her site gemmacope.land, or take a look at the GitHub repo. BIG thanks to Howard Melnyczuk for fixing a bug I totally missed. 🤦🏻‍♀️ 🙏

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NOW v5: He’s here

Updated my Now page, contents below for posterity.


Our son arrived about a month ago 🌱, so our lives currently revolve around figuring out how this tiny human works. There have been difficult moments, particularly when I had to go back in to hospital. And it’s going to get harder when Sam is back at work. But we’re slowly getting in to the swing of things, he’s opening his eyes a lot. His baby bird noises make me laugh so much.

I feel very one-dimensional right now, but that’s ok. I expect that other facets of life will slowly return or emerge as we settle in to some sort of semi-routine, we’ll see.

Work 👩🏻‍💻 is on hiatus right now, I’m on maternity leave till mid-autumn 🍁. I didn’t manage to wrap everything up before leave since he arrived suddenly and earlier than expected, and there are a few small remaining things I’m going to try to sort out during nap times, but I’m pretty happy with where things ended up.

Before leave, I pushed an update to the Modern Art site modernart.net to add Vimeo embed support and to integrate new fonts with flexible type sizes following design guidance by John Morgan studio. I also finished up some work with Nick Sherman on the Variable Fonts website v-fonts.com, he pushed the updates the same day as we spoke about it for Typographics 2021. And I finally pushed a big update to corridor8.co.uk which adds Gutenberg support and refreshes some of the front end components, with design guidance by Sam.

In terms of bigger projects, I built a new site for Danish art 🎨 school Det Jyske Kunstakademi (djk.nu) designed by Sara De Bondt studio (more to come…), developed a new website for Gort Scott Architects (gortscott.com) designed by Polimekanos, and built a new website for Alison Jacques gallery (alisonjacques.com) designed by John Morgan studio. That last one was perhaps the biggest project I’ve ever taken on. The front end is deceptively complex, the information architecture is extensive, and I ended up building a custom scraper in Python to migrate over 4000 entries from their previous site.

***

Recalling those projects just now was so strange, work feels trivial in this moment. But I really enjoyed working with those people and those projects, I’m particularly proud of them, so wanted to document them a little here. Hopefully more documentation to come, we’ll see what time allows.

***

Related to work, I’ve joined Tiny Factories 🏭, though I haven’t been able to contribute much yet due to our son’s early arrival! What a lovely group, thanks to Brian Sholis for introducing me to them. Also still happy to be a part of the Feminist Open Source Investigations Group, though my involvement is pretty minimal at the moment.

What free time I have is generally spent on postpartum care and admin like applying for his passports—thank goodness for Sam’s photography 📷 capabilities and Photoshop, who knew it was so difficult to take a baby passport photo—and writing thank you notes ✉️. I thought I’d do a ton of reading while feeding and such but haven’t really had the headspace for it. Instead, I’ve been listening to podcasts like Parenting Hell (very funny!), Anwer Me This! (RIP), The Horne Section Podcast (so silly), and Unruffled (serious, but useful for a first time parent). Sam has been doing almost all of the cooking and baking recently, though I did manage to squeeze out a cauliflower, chickpea, and green pea curry last night 🥘.

Besides that, haven’t really had much extracurricular activity recently… Partly due to the arrival of our son, but also because the Delta variant 🦠 is on the rise. Such a huge bummer. I feel really fortunate to have delivered when I did since the hospital is again limiting who you can bring along for appointments and such. 😔 But I was just finally starting to make a few connections here in SF 🌁, and now it feels too risky to meet up with those people in most circumstances considering our little boy.

Sort of feels like an endless loop. But for now, I’m happy to stay in.

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A new chapter

Our little one is here, and life will never be the same.

🌱

It has been a whirlwind month, really a whirlwind few months. I was trying to wrap everything up prior to maternity leave and just about got there, then was suddenly faced with a same-day induction following a routine prenatal appointment at 38w + 4d, three days before my leave was due to start. So close!

I’m not going to go in to detail about the birth in public here, it is too intimate of an event. I will say that besides the shock of the sudden induction and a few other blips, the birth itself went just about as close as I could hope to my “ideal” scenario. I’m so thankful for that. Remembering that the pain is temporary and intentional helped a lot, and Sam’s support was vital, as were our nurses Amy and Lukas and doula Taylor. “Ready, present, relaxed” was on repeat in my head.

The days following the birth involved ups and downs in terms of my health, including a readmission to hospital unfortunately, but have gone fairly smoothly otherwise. Not sleeping as well as we did previously, but that’s to be expected!

And most importantly, our little lad. He’s perfect, gorgeous, and so funny already. He won’t appear often in public photos on this site or elsewhere online, but like most parents, I’m happy to share copious pictures with friends and family via text.

The one-on-one conversations I’ve had with more experienced friends, family, collaborators, clients, and acquaintances about this stuff are some of the moments from my pregnancy that I hold most dear, small acts of selflessness and vulnerability on their part that made me feel so much more prepared for this process and what is to come. I’m thankful to have been able to ask so many people about so many things: what it’s like to be self employed with a young child, navigating how to divvy up responsibilities with your partner, the million different paths that feeding a baby can take, how your sense of identity shifts, what equipment is useful and what is pointless, and so, so many birth stories.

So thank you so much to those people that have reached out, and to those that have kindly opened up when I prodded a bit. It has meant everything.

Along those lines, an invitation: if you’re expecting or even just considering kids and want to talk about what it is like, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.